One-Skillet Meatballs with Chili Sauce
One-skillet Meatballs with Chili Sauce are hearty and delicious appetizers that combine the goodness from-scratch spicy beef balls and warming chili! These meaty, fiery and cheesy flavor bombs are super easy to make and are perfect for any night of the week!
This homemade meatball recipe is made extra special by coating them with Mexican-inspired chili sauce loaded with warm spices and tender beans! With an ooey-gooey, golden cheese layer garnished with guacamole, cilantro, and tortilla chips- these mouthwatering appetizers are perfect for parties and game day but can also be enjoyed as a weeknight dinner with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetable salad. Best of all, you cook the meatballs and the sauce in just one skillet is just 40 minutes. Don’t you just love it when you can make amazing food in a single pan? Less after-meal clean-up is always a bonus for me!
Everything is made from scratch- from the juicy meatballs to the chili sauce. I do not really find the need to use ready-made meatballs and sauce because making them myself is so easy! Plus, I get to add the spices I like. Here’s what you’ll need to make One-skillet Meatballs with Chili Sauce at home. I also included alternatives that you can use.
For the Meatballs:
- Ground beef- use an 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio to get juicy balls that are not too greasy! For a lighter option, you can use ground chicken or turkey too.
- Eggs – this will help bind all the ingredients together so you will have meatballs that keep their shape well when cooked.
- Panko- just like eggs, this also acts as a binder. It is also used to keep the balls moist and adds texture too. You can also use plain breadcrumbs, old-fashioned oats, or crumbled day-old bread as substitutes.
- Chili powder- gives the meatballs a nice touch of heat! You can sub this with paprika or chili flakes.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground-to taste
For the Chili Sauce:
- Olive oil- or other neutral oil.
- Vegetables- I used red onion, fire-roasted tomatoes, green chiles, and black and kidney beans in this recipe. This is kinda standard for homemade chili, but feel free to use other types of beans like navy or black.
- Tomato paste- this will add a richer flavor and thicken the sauce too.
- Spices- I used ground cumin and garlic powder to give the sauce its signature warm and earthy flavor. You can add your fave spices if you like.
- Mexican cheese- melts into savory perfection! You can use other types like cheddar, Monterey jack, or parmesan.
- Sour cream
- Tortilla chips
How to Make One-Skillet Meatballs with Chili Sauce
This is a very straightforward and easy-to-follow recipe. Make the meatballs and the chili, layer them with cheese, broil and garnish. That’s about it!
- Make the meatballs. In a medium bowl, combine beef, eggs, panko, 1.5 tsp chili powder, kosher salt, and pepper. Roll the meat mixture into 1.5-inch meatballs and transfer to a plate.
- Cook them. In a large nonstick skillet, add the olive oil and preheat to medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs, turning occasionally for a few minutes until brown. Return the meatballs to the plate
- Make the Chili Sauce. In the same skillet as the meatballs, cook the red onion until tender. Next, add in the black beans, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, green chiles, water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and the remaining 1.5 tsp of chili powder. Stir to combine.
- Add the meatballs to the sauce. Place the cooked meatballs back into the skillet with the chili sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. You want to simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Check the meatballs occasionally to make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan.
- Add the cheesy layer and broil. Next, add the shredded cheese on top and place the pan in a broiler to get the cheese nice and golden brown.
- Garnish and enjoy!
- If you are using frozen ground beef, make sure to bring it out to thaw at room temperature before making the meatballs. This will allow you to mix all the ingredients easier.
- I add the ground beef only after mixing all the other ingredients in the bowl. I do this to make sure that I do not overmix and make the beef dry.
- Shape the meatballs as uniformly as you can. This will ensure that they cook evenly.
- If the meatballs are not keeping their shape well, place the mixture in the fridge for a few minutes. They will be easier to shape when chilled.
- Do not pack the meatballs too tightly though. Use a light hand when shaping them. If they are packed too tight, they will become tough and dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use other proteins for the meatballs? Absolutely, you can also use ground pork or lamb. Or you can use a combination of these. Ground chicken and turkey are also good options, but since they have less fat content, you have to adjust the cooking time so you do not end up with rubbery and tough balls.
- Can I add grape jelly? For sure! Adding grape jelly to the chili meatballs is great for the holidays! The sweet jelly adds another layer of flavor to an already flavor-packed dish! You can also use cranberry jelly if you like.
- Is this gluten-free? No, it is not because of the panko. However, you can make it gluten-free by using a gluten-free breadcrumb.
You can keep leftovers in the fridge for up to three days and in the freezer for a few months. Just remember that the longer they are stored, the less moist and tender they become. You can also make the meatballs ahead of time and keep them frozen for later use.
One-Skillet Meatballs with Chili Sauce
- 2 lbs Ground beef
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tsp Chili powder, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/3 cup Chopped red onion
- 1 15oz Can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15oz Can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 15oz Can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 4oz Can green chiles
- 1 cup Water
- 1 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 tsp Ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 1/2 cups Shredded Mexican blend cheese
- Sour cream, guac, cilantor, jalapenos, for garnish
- In a medium bowl, combine beef, eggs, panko, and 1.5 tsp chili powder, kosher salt, and pepper. Roll meat mixture into 1.5-inch meatballs and transfer to a plate.
- In a large nonstick skillet, add the olive oil and preheat to medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs, turning occasionally for a few minutes until brown. Return the meatballs to the plate.
- In the same skillet as the meatballs, cook the red onion until tender. Next, add in the black beans, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, green chiles, water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and remaining 1.5 tsp of chili powder. Stir to combine. Add the meatballs.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. You want to simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Check the meatballs occasionally to make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan.
- Next, add the shredded cheese on top and place the pan until a broiler to get the cheese nice and golden brown. Remove from the broiler and top with all the garnishes!